Every quarter, our ConveYour team assembles a newsletter digest of the biggest news, trends, and developments in the world of residential solar. This newsletter is sent out to our subscribers before it gets posted on the site.
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Solar News Off The Top
NJR Clean Energy has opened North America’s largest floating solar array in Millburn, New Jersey.
Sunnova Solar announced in June that they have expanded to the US Virgin Islands, bringing their markets served to 42.
Sunrun and Lunar Energy have officially released their residential integrated energy management cabinet system.
Kayo Energy has announced a new CFO to their team. Congratulations to Scott Whitehead!
CNET has released its Best Solar Companies List for Mid-Year 2023. View the list here!
Best First Quarter Ever - And A Solar Grant!
This industry moves fast. Solar in general and residential solar specifically are rapidly emerging fields where huge developments can happen on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. All of this to say, this beginning section originally looked a lot different, but there was a major development on June 28th and now this section of The Roundup is going to mostly be about that!
On Wednesday, June 28th, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a $7 billion competitive grant program as part of the funding for renewables which was established by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which was passed last year. The goal of this grant program is to specifically give low-income communities access to residential solar power. This will result in a guaranteed 20% reduction in electricity costs for the houses that benefit, and states, municipalities, territories, and tribal governments across America will be able to apply for the program until late September.
Solar continues to be a great industry to work in with the massive injection of money into the residential solar industry boosting projections for solar projects in the coming years. This all is coming off of solar's best first quarter ever, with 6.1 GW of capacity installed in Q1. Residential grew 30% quarter-over-quarter and is projected for at least 6% growth annually for the next 5 years, according to Wood Mackenzie. This growth is projected as a result of favorable government regulation, supply chain problems continuing to subside (despite continued problems in the energy storage field), and an overall trend toward renewables into the future. The American government’s posture toward solar remains positive, with President Joe Biden successfully defending his two-year solar tariff moratorium in May.
“This historic boost in solar investments will advance millions of residential solar projects nationwide, protect people and the planet, deliver environmental justice.”
Michael Regan, EPA Administrator
DID YOU KNOW?
The first ever solar cell was invented in1883 by New York inventor Charles Fritts. Click here to see what they looked like.
Taking the USA By Storm
Turning our eyes toward one of the sunniest states in the country, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs recently stuck down a bill that would put result in “regulatory confusion for businesses” in the state. Some of those proposed regulations included tightened zoning standards, site-specific conditions for permitting, and the requirement of a financial bond and site restorations plans before work can begin. Hobbs said that she would rather prioritize creating jobs along with a clean energy ecosystem in the state.
Meanwhile, Michigan lawmakers have proposed a solar-plus-storage credit for residents of the state. Under this plan, new customers would be offered $500 per kW for a new solar system and $300 per kWh for a battery storage system, with low- and moderate-income customers receiving even more. Michigan is currently ranked 25th in solar development, but with this bill they may be moving up!
New York state had a record-setting quarter for solar generation this quarter. During the noon hour of May 18th, they had their highest-ever solar generation on record. For that period, solar was able to power between 2.7 to 3.3 million homes. New York’s goal is to have 70% of power generation come from renewable energy by 2030 - and solar is going to be the key to getting there.
Of course, it’s not smooth sailing in every single state. A suite of planned large-scale solar projects on designated agricultural land in Nebraska are being met with resistance from state residents. Texas, the predicted future #1 state for solar generation, has been rescued by solar as a late-June extreme heat wave strained the state’s power grid. This comes a couple of weeks after a series of bills failed in the state that would have placed new restrictions on renewable companies.
“The solar we’ve added in the last year has been tremendously beneficial, and the solar we will continue to add will also be beneficial. Solar is such a boon for us, for grid reliability.”
Michael Webber, University of Texas at Austin
Solar By Land, By Sea, By...Space!
It seems like every other week there is another mind-boggling new innovation coming out of the solar industry. Today we’re going to run through three of the most exciting advancements, and we’ll be doing it on three frontiers. First, land, then, sea, and then the final frontier: space.
For us landlubbers, some of the biggest developments in solar technology are around the ability to recycle old degraded panels. Historically, panels that were no longer usable had to simply go to waste. Over the last decade or so techniques have slowly emerged for getting more use out of solar panels, and in late June 2023, a shocking discovery was made by Australian researcher Binesh Puthen Veettil: You can just mircowave 'em. Using a modified kitchen microwave, Veettil and his team were able to heat the silicon and glass components of solar cells, allowing them to be removed and preserved.
Large scale solar manufacturers and installers are facing a problem as the solar industry ramps up: there’s only so much land! This limitation has driven huge development in the area of floating solar, where special panels are placed in bodies of water, ideally near large cities or metropolitan areas. These farms have been around for some time in Asia, but have recently begun picking up steam worldwide, with proposed project sites including Columbia, Zimbabwe, Michigan, Malaysia, North Carolina, Portugal, and beyond!
Okay, now the one that we’re all most excited to talk about. Two companies - Orbital Composites and Virtus Solis - have officially announced plans to beam megawatt-scale solar power from space down to earth. While this sounds straight out of science fiction, space-based solar has already been tested and demonstrated to be viable using the Space Solar Power Demonstrator satellite which launched back in January. Orbital Composites has gotten funding from the Space Force and Navy for the development of industries involving manufacturing and service in space.
Solar Spotlight: Solar Energy Partners
This quarter’s Solar Industry Company Spotlight goes out to SEP, Solar Energy Partners! This Modesto, California-based business was founded in 2017 by a team of professionals with 20+ years of experience working in the solar energy industry. They’ve found success since then, serving over 5,000 households in 13 different states, with no signs of slowing down. Their customer-centric approach has made them a favorite installer for many, along with their reputation for participating in community clean-up volunteer efforts across the state of California!
Solar Energy Partners was recently highlighted for their particular care when it comes to helping their California customers transition to solar in the face of the new NEM 3.0 legislation which impacted solar benefits across the state. Because of their “white glove” approach to customer experience, they are now known as one of the best options for homeowners seeking to move to solar, according to The California Observer.
“At our company, we have a commitment to delivering excellent customer service and top-notch solar installations to our clients. We’re thrilled to continue fulfilling our promise, offering the most premium cutting edge options, and assisting homeowners in benefiting from the latest advantages of solar.”
David Madrid Jr., Founding Partner
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